Label: Rockshots Records
Author: Laura Waalboer
Four years after their debut, the Basque female fronted symphonic metal formation SONG OF ANHUBIS releases its second full-length. This time the emphasis on ‘symphonic’ is a bit stronger than on the somewhat anonymous ‘Revenge As Redemption‘. The rock and sporadic folk elements that could still be found there have been exchanged by techno and pop.
The band, founded by singer Rei Reych and guitarist and keyboard player Polvareda (Paul) Johnson, is completed by Jon Goitia on drums and bassist Mario Martín. This Martín plays a major role in the sound of this foursome. Apart from his bass playing, he takes care of the male vocals and he was responsible for the characteristic keyboard sound. A bunch of guest musicians appears to mainly play the synthesizers. So it is clear which musical direction SONG OF ANHUBIS wants to take.
Together with Johnson, Martín took care of the songwriting and Reych wrote almost all the lyrics. Very personal lyrics, but certainly entertaining. A theme such as “rage or anger, the fight against the injustices” will appeal to many. There’s little warmth and mystique to be found on ‘Reversed Reflection‘, but what do the 42 minutes of this CD have to offer? Well, energetic, sometimes quite heavy, introspective, symphonic metal that occasionally evokes the melancholic and techno atmosphere of the eighties.
The album also kicks off with a short techno intro (‘Lonely Echoes‘) and is followed by ‘Misantropía‘. A song which opens with roaring drums and Reych’s low, languid vocals that go well with her dark, powerful voice, but then she goes into overdrive. I admire the guts, but I’m not a fan of her vocals. There is no shortage of range, volume and quality, but her harsh, sharp voice and intense, but not passionate way of singing takes some getting used to. She occasionally reminds me of her French colleague Emma Elvaston from Beneath My Sins, who often sings in overdrive.
Song number three, ‘Persephone’s Call‘, also starts modestly, but then we quickly hear that combination of symphonic orchestration and techno elements. Her alternately subdued vocals and operatic singing are combined here with the grunts of Martín. ‘Suicide Nation‘ also has a techno intro, this time combined with rap-like vocals, and contains some pop-like symphonic orchestration that is reminiscent of Lacuna Coil, for example. A little later it turns out that the Basque vocalist – accompanied by techno tinkling – doesn’t turn her hand for oriental singing either.
The following ‘Vestiges Of A Life’ immediately opens with Martín‘s rap vocals, and when Reych takes over again, you can hear that singing loud and high is often not a good combination. Her high-pitched support for Martín‘s rapping does sound original again. The longest track of ‘Reversed Reflection‘, ‘Progressive Spiral‘, offers more of the same, with only a slightly bigger role for Johnson‘s guitar parts. The Basque (I assume) sung ‘Hypersomnia‘ is a highlight and it’s the only ballad from ‘Reversed Reflection‘.
Two more up-tempo songs follow, of which ‘Teratos‘ is also the first single. This track immediately bursts out with Reych‘s characteristic way of singing, accompanied by double bass drums. The vocals are only interrupted by a short break halfway through and by a short, but sharp guitar solo. The occasional somewhat lower pitched vocals in the closing track ‘My Own Enemy‘ have a somewhat ’90s style and despite the double bass drumming it sounds quite poppy. This second single is one of the better songs of the album, with appealing lyrics that deal with “the complete feeling of loneliness in the crowd”.
All in all ‘Reversed Reflection‘ is not a bad album, but due to the lack of a few highlights it doesn’t make a lasting impression.
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